Cutting vehicle speeds would save lives, cut accidents, lower vehicle emissions and lead to more efficient use of roads. Speed management can mitigate the adverse effects of traffic on the environment and on the general quality of peoples' lives.
The effects of speed are highly complex and felt beyond the vital area of road safety. To create a comprehensive and successful speed policy we need to see how it affects the economy, how much it will reduce vehicle emissions and improve peoples' quality of life. Only by taking account of all these elements will effective speed management help develop a successful integrated transport system.
Studies show that installing humps and other traffic-calming measures in residential areas can reduce accidents by up to 80 percent. The European Transport Safety Council claims that speed cameras on motorways can halve the accident rate. In Finland, a package of measures to reduce speed resulted in a 45 percent drop in road deaths between 1990 and 1997.
Two researchers in Israel report that the procedure of electronically clocking speeding drivers, photographing them in the act, pulling them over immediately and handing them a warning letter, curbs overall speeding dramatically in a matter of weeks. It is argued that warning letters create a more positive response than fines, because they disarm the offender and focus his attention upon his behaviour, instead of triggering hostility of inciting him to fight the penalty.
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